Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Vocational Education: The Come-Back?

Ethiopia’s new Vice-minister for Education Mr Wondwossen Kiflu told a recent UNESCO mission to his country that technical and vocational education and training was the only way forward if his country was to develop infrastructures such as village electrification and road construction.

Ethiopia is just one example of countries’ renewed interest in technical and vocational education and training (TVET). Often considered as a second-class education compared to the mainstream academic branch, TVET is increasingly seen as the master key to poverty alleviation and social cohesion and a chance for countries to jump on the bandwagon of development and globalization.

The shift in blue-collar employment from the United States and Europe to India and China, described in this issue of Education Today, reveals the high returns on investment that a proficient labour force provides. In China, for example, where skilled labourers represent the backbone of the current economic expansion, one third of all secondary students are enrolled in vocational schools.


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